A couple of weeks ago we learned that a push was underway to amend the United Kingdom’s rules of royal succession so that any first born female children would be eligible to rule as queen even if male heirs are born afterward. Today we learn that that amendment to the rules of royal succession has been approved after prime minister David Cameron struck a deal with the leaders of the UK commonwealth nations. This change means that if Prince William and Kate Middleton have a baby girl first, she will be the first in line to rule as Queen.
Female members of the Royal Family are to be given equality with men in the rules of succession to the throne. As the historic changes to the monarchy were agreed today, the Queen hailed the power of women to change the world at the Commonwealth summit in Perth, Australia. The changes mean the if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s first child is a girl, she will take precedence over any younger brothers in the order of succession. The 16 ‘realms’, including the UK, Canada and Australia, also agreed to scrap outdated laws which ban the spouse of a Roman Catholic from taking the throne. The changes were announced by David Cameron, the Prime Minister, at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, attended by the Queen. As Commonwealth politicians unanimously agreed dramatic reform to royal succession laws dating back more than 300 years, the Queen said the untapped potential of women and girls should be set free. The monarch said at the opening of a major summit of the 53 Commonwealth countries in Perth, Australia: ‘The theme this year is Women As Agents of Change. It reminds us of the potential in our societies that is yet to be fully unlocked and it encourages us to find ways to allow all girls and women to play their full part. We must continue to strive in our own countries countries and across the Commonwealth together to promote that theme in a lasting way beyond this year.’ Her comments will be taken as a sign the Queen backs the reform. The Prime Minister struck the deal to scrap male primogeniture by thrashing out an agreement with Commonwealth leaders. Mr Cameron said the historic rules were ‘at odds with the modern countries that we have become’. Announcing the proposed changes, he said: ‘Put simply, if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were to have a little girl, that girl would one day be our queen.’ Yet it is still likely to be many years before another female monarch takes to the throne. The Royal Family already has two generations of kings-in-waiting and the Queen is celebrating her Diamond Jubilee next year and in good health. Her own mother, the Queen Mother, lived to 101.
Whether or not Prince Wills and Kate have a first born girl and whether or not she will eventually become queen, this change in the rules of royal succession is a good one. No matter what one may personally think about the British monarchy, this decision to change the succession rules to put women on the same level as men is a very important one. The United Kingdom has enjoyed the rule of a few amazing women so this change just makes sense, don’tcha think?